The Motivation to Workout and How to Stay Consistent
Motivation to work out is great but how long does it last? If you only workout when the going is good, the likelihood of putting together a consistent training regime that produces the results your looking for (whether the goal is weight loss, strength gains or supplementary exercise to help athletic performance) is severely diminished.
The answer is…create momentum. The reason most people don’t start exercise is the association with discomfort. The idea of sweating and straining at the end of a days work is met with resistance in the mind. The drag before working out can feel overwhelming and you naturally want to take the easy path. The path of instant gratification. Why sweat and strain and feel discomfort when you can take the night off, reward yourself with a rest and perhaps do something easy. You can just workout tomorrow right?
You have to fight this, you have to fight the path of least resistance and push through. Do not embrace the desire to blow off your workout and procrastinate. A lot of the best things in life come from overcoming hurdles. Maybe it’s your degree from university, the fact you saved to buy your own house or flat, or successfully completing a project at work. This success is almost always associated with putting yourself in an uncomfortable position and placing your faith in deferred gratification.
Its an important skill to develop is recognising in the drag, the discomfort, the resistance, the thought process of rationalising to yourself why you don’t have to work out now and push past it. This may not come as an innate instinct but can be an acquired skill. It’s not just the act of pushing past discomfort or adversity that is important, but giving yourself the ability to do so over and over again, whether it’s physical or mental.
Once you are over the hump, you realise those negative feelings associated with working out are only related to the initial stage of an exercise routine. Exercise then becomes something to look forward to and a way of alleviating stress and frustration. The endorphin hit puts us in a good mood and helps us readdress our attitude to problems and trivial day to day grievances. The satisfaction of making progress and approaching your goals becomes addictive.
Once you have the consistency of a routine, you start to develop momentum. The momentum of past experiences conditions us to go to the gym with less resistance because of learned discipline. You begin to look forward to building on what you have achieved and reaching new personal bests. This means the resistance becomes much weaker and your motivation becomes stronger because of the reward feedback.
Blowing something off or making an excuse is not just bad for you physically, it’s also bad for you mentally as you have then consciously acknowledge the option is there to defer and give in to the temptation to slack off. If you’ve done it before, it will happen again and this is the path to mediocrity, not just in the gym going part of your life but it transfers to all aspects of your life. The inclination to not workout can gather momentum as well. You can develop the habit of not aiming for your goals and slacking off by making excuses that are ultimately lies you are telling yourself to avoid the guilt of not doing what you are suppose to and to give yourself an escape.
Don’t take the easy way out and embrace the correct mindset. Overcome the instinct to avoid the uncomfortable. Go and exercise and you will feel great that you have accomplished something. You’ve pushed passed something you didn’t want to do and you will feel good about that. You’ll build the pattern of thought in your brain so you can maintain the momentum to do it again and again, because you’ve forced yourself to go exercise in spite of the initial reluctance. I feel the drag before a workout, and an inclination not to do it, the key is to not embrace it that feeling and choose the correct path.
Discipline and consistency then become a greater force then fluctuating motivation. Now get fired up, stay consistent and go workout!